The crust is too thin
I'm trying out variations of no-knead recipes, and the one thing I can't seem to nail down is the crust.
Last time I've made it, I used only whole wheat flour with half a teaspoon of east with about 6 hours fermentation and 2 hours proofing time. I don't use a dutch oven and bake the loaves free-standing. The crust came out on the medium side. Today, I tried 1.5 cups all-purpose and 3 cups whole wheat flour, with same times for fermentation and proofing and 1 more S&F than last time. After about 30 minutes in the oven at 425F with the steaming pan and spraying the oven walls with a spray bottle a few times in the first 10 minutes, the crust came out a bit hard on top but mostly paper thin on the sides and bottom.
What variables affect crust thickness? I noticed most no-knead bread recipes ask for 40+ minutes in the oven, but I'm assuming I have to decrease the time since I'm not using a dutch oven. The bread came out a darker brown with the topmost point moving towards dark brown. It registered about 205F inside. Is the temperature alone enough to judge readiness of a bread?